The pretrial for a man accused of murder in Gravenhurst runs this week.

Adam Kehl is facing charges of second-degree murder and indignity to a body after his father was killed on an island property on Kahshe Lake in August.

Kehl’s murder investigation was one of two in Muskoka in 2018. The second involved the death of Amanda McClaskin, a woman who went missing from the Britt-Byng Inlet area in early August. Her remains were discovered near Lake Joseph in Muskoka Lakes Township. Mark St. Amant, from the same Parry Sound community, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in that investigation.

These two Muskoka-based murders helped make up a total of 42 new OPP homicide investigations in Ontario last year. Police officials say the trend is concerning, as it’s the highest number of new homicide investigations during a year since 2010, when there were 51.

“It is distressing to see an increase in the number of murders being committed in communities throughout Ontario,” says OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum. “To deliberately take another life is the most personal affront to public safety that we know.”

According to the OPP, a firearm was the murder weapon used in 18 of these investigations. This number is up from the 10 gunshot-related murders in 2017, despite ongoing efforts from all police services to crack down on illegal weapons.

Adam Kehl’s pretrial is set to run at the Bracebridge Courthouse on Friday.